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Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver aims to add more teachers of color in Colorado classrooms

Mentorship program at MSU Denver appeals to future Black educators
Mentorship program at MSU Denver appeals to future Black educators 02:31

Data from the Department of Education shows less than 2% percent of educators in Colorado are black. A mentorship program at Metropolitan State University of Denver aims to change that by preparing students of color for a career in education. They even get a chance to mentor young students.

The leadership program is dedicated to recruiting, training and placing male Black and African American educators in Colorado classrooms. 

Call Me Mister, at MSU of Denver's School of Education, prepares undergraduate students of color for careers in K-12 education. 


The acronym "MISTER" stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models.

This year, the program has partnered with up Green Valley Elementary school to mentor male students of color. 

At Green Valley Elementary School 60% of the students are Latinx, while 30% are Black or African American.


Every Friday, students at Green Valley Elementary school get to their mentors, Joshua Barringer, Christopher Livingston, and Jordan Puch, future educators they can relate to.

"It's a life changing experience for a student to have somebody that looks like them in the classroom and see what that person has done just to move forward in their own life," said Barringer. 


The three men, including the director of the program, Dr. Rashad Anderson, uprooted their lives in South Carolina to offer the program in Colorado.

"One powerful story of when we first got to Denver and we were wearing our suits and the kids were all looking at us , six feet and all and they thought, 'Oh y'all a basketball team!' And we were like 'No! we are educators,'" said Anderson.

Anderson believes this was powerful because they were able to put a new face to what an educator is and can look like. 


The Colorado Department of Education data shows of the more than 55,000 teachers last school year, only 341 were black men.

Denver county accounts for 123 of those teachers, which means many districts have zero Black or African American educators. 

"Because the notion in society is when you see a black man and he is dressed up well he has to be an athlete or an entertainer, and we are bringing back this nobility to the profession," said Anderson. 

The passion these mentors have for education shows in the interactions they have with these students.

Students they hope will aspire to be changemakers just like them. 

"Being two percent out of the 98 doesn't really scare us because we know the training that we get, the power that we have in our tongue and we're also change agents, we are revolutionary" Livingston, Chief of Staff, for the Call Me Mister program. 

The three mentors in the program are students as well, with futures set on education.


The program began in 2000 in South Carolina with the goal to put more teachers of color and role models in the classrooms, as research shows students are more likely to go to college if they have a role model that looks like them.

The program is currently operating in 12 states and has nearly 700 graduates. 

They are currently accepting and recruiting for their 'Call Me Mister' program at MSU Denver.

For more on how to apply:

You can also reach out to Dr. Anderson through e-mail:   

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